Now Entering the Dog Days of Summer: CSA Box

By Rebecca Shrago, Dietetic Intern, Sargent College

Now that the 4th of July is behind us – the fireworks done, the cookouts over, the masses back
to work – we have officially entered the Dog Days of Summer. And as I stood in front of the air
conditioner last night, starving but absolutely unwilling to do anything involving stove or oven,
some words from Mark Bittman came to mind: “Summer may not be the best time to cook, but
it’s certainly among the best times to eat.”

Truer words were never spoken.

In this week’s CSA box:

  • Rhubarb: this fruit, which looks similar to celery, is commonly associated with sweet treats (strawberry-rhubarb pie, anyone?). Did you know, though, that rhubarb alone is tart? This is why it is commonly cooked with sugar and other sweet fruits.
  • Summer Squash: Contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which research has
    shown to be strongly implicated in eye health. Although technically a fruit, summer
    squash is most often prepared as a vegetable. Try it grilled, sautéed, steamed, or
    roasted.
  • Blueberries: Antioxidants. Fiber. Low sugar. Delicious. Truly a nutrition all-star! Try ‘em
    mixed into plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a palmful of chopped walnuts.
  • Beets: Chock-full of antioxidants, as evidenced by their brilliant color. Enjoy the sweet
    and earthy flavor of roasted beets in a green salad with goat cheese and vinaigrette.
    Yum!
  • Carrots: Like summer squash, another excellent source of carotenoids. Feeling lazy?
    Crunch these babies raw, dipping in hummus or guacamole or almond butter (trust me)
    as you see necessary.
  • Sugar Snap Peas: High in vitamins C and K, sweet and crunchy. Snack on them raw
    alongside the carrots, or stir-fry with a little sesame oil and lite soy sauce for an Asian-inspired side.
    Pickling or Slicing Cucumbers: Cooling and refreshing, with anti-inflammatory
    properties. Make some raita (recipe below).
  • Swiss chard: A veritable superfood – high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as Magnesium,
  • Manganese, Potassium, and Iron. These hearty greens are best steamed, braised, or
  • sautéed. Add a dash of orange juice to sautéed chard – or braise in orange juice – to
  • maximize iron absorption.

Cucumber Raita
Recipe adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure II by Anna Thomas
A classic Indian yogurt sauce commonly paired with spicy foods to cool the palette.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
2 cups plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt
chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Peel the cucumber, seed it, and coarsely grate it. Stir together the cucumber, onions, and
yogurt.

Heat the ground cumin for a moment in a small enameled pan, then remove it from the heat
and quickly stir in a little of the yogurt mixture. Return the yogurt-cumin mixture to the rest and
stir thoroughly. Stir in the cayenne, salt to taste, and add as much chopped cilantro as you like.

Awesome with curries or other Indian dishes.


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